No one who is alive today has ever lived through what we are currently living through! But even more impactful - no one alive today has ever lived through a nationwide school closure.
The COVID-19 pandemic created an unprecedented disruption to academic learning. Our students are now in the high risk category of profound learning loss! But not only do they have major gaps in their academic learning - their social emotional learning skills have also been impacted!
“Even with prevalent support for teaching social-emotional learning and a growing understanding of how deeply intertwined skills like building healthy peer relationships and responsible decision making are with academic success, there are big challenges when it comes to the reality of teaching SEL on a grand scale when times are normal.” ~EducationWeek, 2020
These times are anything, but normal, though. And as a result, Social Emotional Learning, or SEL, needs to continue to be taught, whether we are teaching in person or from our computers.
And teachers know this - they are actively learning and working to build their own knowledge of SEL and how to teach and support it in our new classrooms.
Social media has been flooded with ways to re-imagine teaching in a COVID world. From bitmoji classrooms to personalized student calm down tools, we have so many options for teaching at our fingertips. But as a result, there can't be many of us that are not overwhelmed right now. But being overwhelmed impacts teacher self care, and if teachers are not emotionally healthy, their students will suffer.
So what do teachers need to do?
The following is a list of the key takeaway needs from the most recent research on SEL:
#1 Make Research-Based Decisions
Research, based on the science of learning, gives us the tool to make expert decisions for our students’ futures. The purpose of educational research is to develop new knowledge about the teaching and learning of students to improve our educational practices. So why would we re-invent the wheel?
Check out EducationWeek’s online summit of experts and CASEL for a list of evidence-based SEL practices for re-opening!
#2 Use a Team Approach
There are many teams within our school buildings. Every school building has a student team, a staff team, and a community team. Within each of those teams, there are even smaller teams.
It’s important, then, to get the input of all of these stakeholders. What are teachers feeling? What are teachers needing? How are students feeling? What are our students needing? Are our families having all of their needs met? We need to know this input to guide our decision-making process.
And another team that schools should have is a re-opening team. We can’t all be the experts in everything, but we are all experts in something! So as we begin to identify our community needs, we can also call upon our experts to support those needs. For instance, if our teachers are asking for a concrete protocol to follow when they have identified a student as emotionally at-risk, then call in your school psychologists and counselors to meet that need!
#3 Check Community Emotions
By now we all know the importance of emotional check-ins in our classrooms, right? They help to give us a pulse on the classroom and identify the emotional well-being of each individual student. Oftentimes, in schools, we sit in our morning meetings and share how we are feeling, but how do we do this when we are not in the classroom?
Use surveys or meetings to check-in on the emotional pulse of the school community, and this includes students, staff, and families. These emotional check-ins will allow schools to be able to identify those needs that we discussed in our second step.
#4 Approach SEL Curricula Organically
Continually checking the emotional pulse of the community helps us to make decisions and adjust accordingly as community emotions fluctuate. What this means, then, is that we can take an organic approach to our SEL curriculum.
SEL instruction and supports can be tailored to meet the needs of the community based upon the ebb and flow of our own individualized communities. The practices that we choose to implement, then, will be responsive to the community’s needs
#5 Explicitly Integrate SEL
‘Time on learning’ is a popular phrase in education. We have lost a lot of time on learning this year. So do we even have time to address SEL?
Make time! SEL is a must.
Schools should continue to teach core SEL skills. This instruction should be explicit in its teaching of what social and emotional skills look and feel like in action. However, research has shown that when we embed SEL instruction into our academic content areas, it can be more effective than pull-out programs. Therefore, core skills can be linked to our content area learning standards.
We can further support students’ SEL skills by embedding SEL practices into our daily routines (even if you are not in person, we can still have a Google Meet morning meeting!) and by addressing students’ SEL needs through personalized learning as well. Remember how we have our thumb on our community’s pulse? Well, this is another reason why we do that! Through check-ins, we can support our students’ evolving needs with SEL lessons that are additional to our core curriculums (i.e. coping skills for remote learning, mask wearing anxiety, anti-racism, etc.). By taking this organic approach to our SEL instruction, we can be proactive in both our instruction and supports.
#6 Offer Continuous Training
Teachers are amazing. That is my biggest takeaway from this school year.
Teachers inspired a nation by what they were able to accomplish in a time of crisis. Although the immensity of the task was unprecedented, teachers transformed living breathing classrooms into a productive remote learning environments. And this happened in a matter of moments!
That seemed impossible! And yet teachers found a way to make it happen.
But now that we have more than 10 minutes to plan, schools should support these amazing beings! Teachers are going to need both initial and ongoing professional development for SEL curricula.
As our students’ needs evolve, our expertise is going to need to as well! Support our teachers to support our students!
#7 Progress Monitor Emotions
We progress monitor the impact of our academic instruction so why don’t we do this with SEL?
Emotions change. One minute we are happily driving, belting out our favorite tune as it blasts through our speakers, and the next minute, that happiness can crash into anger as another driver cuts you off. A moment later, you feel relieved because you realized had you not been paying attention, that moment could have ended in a crash.
Schools should create a continual feedback loop. So don’t just implement #3 by surveying the community once; keep doing it!
During this past year, we have seen our lives completely shift in a matter of days and weeks, and with that, our emotions changed as well. Stay vigilant and keep your thumb on this pulse to be proactive.
We can’t do it all. Begin by identifying standards and priorities. Then, align those with a few best practice strategies to support your students’ success. Students do not need you to be the teacher who tries all the new trendy strategies; they just need you!
By: Miss Rae
7/19/2020 0 Comments
Calming corners. Movement breaks. Calming toolkits. Mindfulness. These are all becoming common terms in today’s classrooms. The teaching of such soft skills through character education-like programs was once considered to be an accessory to the curriculum. Today, though, Social Emotional Learning has emerged as an integral component in a student’s ability to learn.
By now, we have all heard of the meta-analysis study that publicized an average increase in academic achievement of 11 percentage points (Durlak, et al., 2011). Other studies have determined that an increase of students’ Social Emotional Learning skills reduce student distress and behavior problems (Catalano et al., 2002; Greenberg et al., 2003; Zins et al., 2004, Zins, et al., 2007).
With all of these benefits, embedding Social Emotional Learning into our schools seems logical. And furthermore, it seems like a natural fit for our students with Learning Disabilities.
The co-morbidity (meaning the presence of more than one disorder in the same student) rate research shows that they are consistently higher than expected by chance between reading disorders and other neurodevelopmental disorders (Moll, et al., 2020). Students identified with reading disorders demonstrate a co-morbidity rate range between 20 to 50 percent for a reading disorder and a behavioral disorder (i.e. ADHD) and 9 to 29 percent for reading disorder and emotional problems like anxiety.
Learning disabilities do occur in isolation as do other neurodevelopmental disorders. This fact doesn’t help us though. This means that whether a student has more than one disability or just one, the student is at-risk for poor socio-emotional outcomes (Haft, et al., 2016).
It’s pretty simple what this all means -
Our students with learning disabilities benefit from Social Emotional Learning.
When students reflect on their own academic and social emotional competencies, they can begin to set goals for these skills. And through the pursuit of these goals, educators can support students in their achievement.
We can help students to periodically pause and reflect. Reflection, paired with goal setting, allows academic experiences to transfer into genuine, lifelong learning. It helps students to develop an understanding of their own strengths and lagging skills for improvement, increase their higher order and critical thinking skills, make connections and generalize problem solving skills to real life situations. Students learn to analyze and apply their learning independently - and isn’t independence always the goal of Special Education?!
Educators can use reflection tasks such as discussion, journaling, free writing, or in response to a content-based prompt.
From the classroom to the playground, all students have moments that upon reflection, they are able to make connections between what is taught in theory to its application in real life. Reflection leads to learning.
Relationships are the heart of the classroom and the key to successful student learning and management. The core Social Emotional Learning skills teach the initiation, development, and maintenance of healthy relationships. Healthy relationships are the pervasive outcome that are intertwined as the outcome of ALL Social Emotional Learning competences.
Supportive and healthy relationships, and the skills they entail, are the one commonality of all prevention programs for at-risk students. And at-risk students often demonstrate lagging emotional competencies as well as acting out behaviors. But if we can teach these students how to initiate, maintain, and develop healthy relationships, we can change their futures.
Strong relationships help students grow from their learning, both academically and behaviorally. They also shape student development and health. One way that they do this is to protect against the negative impact of stress on a student’s development and health. Research has shown that relationships are able to provide this protection against stress.
And this research is very important for our students with learning disabilities. Our students with learning disabilities experience stress at high levels. In one study, 16.6 percent of participants with learning disabilities stated that they were experiencing severe stress (Panicker, et al., 2016). Supportive, healthy relationships can offer protection against such stress.
We build relationships with students by greeting each of them daily and saying “good-bye” to each of them every afternoon. Student and family inventories, surveys, and questionnaires can help educators learn more about student preferences, obtain actionable feedback, and have the ability to relate to our students.
I love getting to know my students! And I use all of these strategies and then some to get to know them. But let me share my tried and true key to building relationships with students. Personally, I find good old-fashion discussion to be my best relationship builder! Ask them questions about themselves. And be a kid watcher. I try to notice strengths in my students: “You are such a talented artist!” Throughout the school year, these strengths can be used to build a student’s academic and social emotional abilities.
Letting students inside my world - just a little bit - allows us to deepen our relationships: “This morning my chihuahua Zoe was so lazy she tried to hide under her blanket.” By doing this, I can make connections with my students: “I have a dog too” or “I tried to hide under my blanket this morning too.”
Relationships are free to implement. And with all of their benefits to student performance, why would we not build relationships with students?!
It is believed that the average student can sustain attention for 10 to 15 minutes on one task. Students with ADHD have an even lower ability. And the 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health (NCSH) found that 31 to 45 percent of children with ADHD have a learning disability, and vice versa (DuPaul, et al., 2013).
Task Checklists can be used to increase students’ attention and metacognition (awareness and understanding of one's own thought processes). We can use checklists to communicate the details or goals of an assignment for students and keep them on track toward achieving the learning goal. Student learning is supported when we use checklists to present complex tasks as being broken down into the simpler concrete tasks needed for the successful completion of the whole complex task. The checklist teaches a student to follow multiple steps to complete a task. They also help to make order in the relative chaos of learning and provide a means and memory aids for students to accomplish complex tasks. When students know how to learn, how to apply effective strategies when challenged by learning obstacles, and have strategies for assessing their progress, they become better learners.
Task Checklists give control over learning to the students, reinforcing independence of the skill. We know that students who track their own behaviors gain greater control over those behaviors. So inevitably, students who can learn to track their behaviors in conjunction with task completion can gain greater control over both.
The checks indicating completion of tasks on the Task Checklists give us visual data on a student’s task completion!
If you don’t know how you feel, you can’t do anything about it. This goes for teachers and students!
Students with learning disabilities experience just as many emotions as their peers, but some of these emotions may be connected to their learning. For example, reading aloud can produce even more fear in a student with a reading disability in comparison to a typical reader. An abundance of research supports students with learning disabilities experiencing high levels of emotional distress related to their difficulties with learning. Depression, loneliness, and low self esteem are experienced at higher levels by students with learning disabilities than their peers. In one study, 14.2 percent of students with learning disabilities had severe depression and 23.8 percent had severe anxiety (Panicker, et al., 2016).
Emotional check-ins are designed to help students slow us down and assess their feelings. We can take some time throughout the day to emotionally check in with students. Ask all community members to pause and ask, “How am I feeling - in this moment?”
When we know what we are feeling, we can do something about it.
(Remember, though, if you are checking in on students’ emotions, make sure you know what you are going to say and do when students say they are not doing well. It is also important to know what your school’s process for handling disclosures of distress.)
Check-ins can be implemented in several different ways. Daily feelings check-ins help students to recognize different emotions within themselves, use emotional vocabulary by labeling the emotions, recognize the emotions, and take steps to manage these feelings. And ultimately, this normalizes emotions for students while communicating that how others feel is important.
When using Task Checklists, a task could be a “Check-In.” Perhaps this check-in asks a student to check-in on their progress towards the task’s completion. Or maybe this check-in asks a student to assess their attention to the task: “Was I just being attentive to the task? If not, what can I do to regulate myself?”
Executive Functions are those cognitive functions that supervise, control, and regulate our emotions and behaviors. These functions contribute significantly to the academic and social emotional difficulties faced by students with learning disabilities. This is why students with learning disabilities often display difficulties with organization, prioritizing, controlling impulses, applying effective learning strategies, memory, self-regulation, and metacognitive skills.
But if we can help students to improve their Executive Functioning, we can further support our students’ learning. These skills can be learned through active participation in motor control activities, activities that require waiting - you know, the reverse of impulse control - or mental focus, breathing exercises, and/or cognitive distraction activities.
So how can we support students’ Executive Functions? We can implement a Self Reg Toolkit. And by this I mean, we can teach students a sequence of exercises, using coping tools, to independently self regulate.
When students feel frustrated over a task or over-stimulated, teach them to independently implement a Self Reg Toolkit to de-escalate.
As much as we can, we should seek to connect the language of each of these supports to visuals. This will further support understanding and recall, while also increasing student independence in applying the Social Emotional skills that these must have’s teach!
It’s been about 2,000 years since Plato wrote that “All learning has an emotional base.” But since then, we have the research to support the practice of teaching the whole child. At the time this is being written, there are numerous states in the United States that have made Social Emotional Learning a mandated part of the curriculum.
Research has found that 83 percent of students make academic gains when participating in an SEL program with an academic component (Durlak, et al., 2011). Research shows when interventions link academic and social emotional learning students with learning disabilities have the greatest likelihood of helping students.
Despite these trends and research, though, we still have a few miles ahead on our journey. Research has focused little on Social Emotional Learning skill development for students with diagnosed psychiatric or developmental disabilities. While there are numerous evidence-based Social Emotional Learning programs, very few of them have been specifically evaluated for their success with students with diagnosed psychiatric or developmental disabilities. Additionally, many of the programs require significant accommodations for students with disabilities to participate successfully.
With years of research to come, this will be considered the start of a growing list of research-based Social Emotional Learning must have’s for the classroom. But for now, these top 5 Social Emotional Learning must haves are for students with learning disabilities!
By: Miss Rae
Catalano, R. F., Berglund, M. L., Ryan, J. A. M., Lonczak, H. S., & Hawkins, J. D. (2002). Positive youth development in the United States: Research findings on evaluations of positive youth development programs. Prevention & Treatment, 5, Article 15. doi: 10.1037/1522- 37188.8.131.525a.
DuPaul GJ, Gormley MJ, Laracy SD. Comorbidity of LD and ADHD: implications of DSM-5 for assessment and treatment. J Learn Disabil. 2013;46(1):43-51. doi:10.1177/0022219412464351
Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., & Schellinger, K. (2011). The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development, 82, 405-432.
Greenberg, M. T., Weissberg, R. P., O’Brien, M. U., Zins, J. E., Fredericks, L., Resnik, H., et al. (2003). Enhancing school-based prevention and youth development through coordinated social, emotional, and academic learning. American Psychologist, 58, 466–474.
Greene, R. W. (2008). Lost at school: Why our kids with behavioral challenges are falling through the cracks and how we can help them. New York: Scribner.
Haft, S. L., Myers, C. A., & Hoeft, F. (2016). Socio-Emotional and Cognitive Resilience in Children with Reading Disabilities. Current opinion in behavioral sciences, 10, 133–141. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cobeha.2016.06.005
Moll, Kristina & Snowling, Maggie & Hulme, Charles. (2020). Introduction to the Special Issue “Comorbidities between Reading Disorders and Other Developmental Disorders”. Scientific Studies of Reading. 24. 1-6. 10.1080/10888438.2019.1702045.
Panicker, A. S., & Chelliah, A. (2016). Resilience and Stress in Children and Adolescents with Specific Learning Disability. Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry = Journal de l'Academie canadienne de psychiatrie de l'enfant et de l'adolescent, 25(1), 17–23.
Zins, Joseph & Elias, Maurice. (2007). Social and Emotional Learning: Promoting the Development of All Students. JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL CONSULTATION. 17. 233-255. 10.1080/10474410701413152.
Zins, J. E., Weissberg, R. P., Wang, M. C., & Walberg, H. J. (Eds.). (2004). Building academic success on social and emotional learning: What does the research say? New York: Teachers College Press.
Sixty-one percent of the teachers said their work was always or often stressful. 58 percent of teachers described their mental health as “not good” for at least seven of the previous 30 days.
Positive Affirmations are short positive statements targeted at a specific set of negative beliefs. They are used to reprogram our subconscious minds, to encourage us to believe certain things about ourselves or about the world and our place within it. Basically, they help to create the reality we want!
Affirmations are proven methods of self-improvement because of their ability to rewire our brains. Using positive affirmations can help us to keep focused on our inner goals!
Grab more teacher affirmations linked in my bio!
When we use affirmations with students, we are rewiring students' brains. We're teaching student brains a new way to think about the world. We are helping to change student brain processes, leading students to see different things and have different thoughts. We eliminate negative ways of thinking and essentially change a student's mindset so much that they get what it is you affirmed!
And the benefits continue! Self-affirmation has been shown to have powerful effects on learning! Research suggests that it can minimize the anxiety, stress, and defensiveness associated with threats to our sense of self while keeping us open to the idea that there is room for improvement. You know-learning!
Grab these affirmations +++40 more here:
By: Miss Rae's Room
Source: AFT, 2017 Educator Quality of Work Life Survey
In full disclosure, I saw this campaign beginning and I thought "Is this really the right time for this? Is this what we should be fighting for right now?" with all of the chaos happening in our country. But then, I realized education is the answer to all of this!
Education is the catalyst for all change. It's how we can bring our country together again. It's what nations are built from. It's what the future of civilization depends on. And education is what will make America great again.
According to the "nation's report card," the average reading scores for 4th and 8th graders in the U.S. have dropped since 2017, while math scores increased by one point for 4th graders and decreased by one point for 8th-graders, with progress overall remaining flat for the past decade.
It's time for a change!
If we can reimagine our schools with common sense school reform, we can make American schools great! Our students' need a developmentally appropriate curriculum linked to Social Emotional Learning. And our teachers need stronger teacher prep programs on the science of learning to be able to deliver this instruction. It only takes common sense to see what we need!
Schools have played an essential role in the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools provided meals, internet, technology, emotional and mental health support, and seemlessly continued to educate the future of our nation! If schools are so essential, then, our funding should be too. But instead, we are facing massive budget cuts in the richest nation in the world.
It's time for a change. And it's time for that change now.
The #reimaginingschools campaign was started by a New York state teacher, Emily Aierstok. You can learn more about this campaign on her Instagram: @readitwriteitlearnit You can also screenshot your own thought bubble to share how you would like to see the United States #reimaginingschool
~By Miss Rae
First, I hope everyone is well!
With all of this free time, I have been doing a great deal of thinking. My mind naturally wanders to our students who are learning, or hopefully, still learning at home right now.
When I think about learning, though, I'm not just talking about academics. Students with learning disabilities are more susceptible to lagging social emotional skills for a variety of reasons. How are they handling this crisis?
Social and emotional skills help students to build cognitive skills, learn academic content, apply knowledge and feel they are a successful student. They can also help our students to feel safe and secure in their world.
By explicitly teaching SEL skills, we can help students make progress in areas of their life including academic areas.
So that's why I'm checking in on my students' emotional health daily.
I recently posted SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING IEP GOALS & OBJECTIVES to address my students lagging skills so I know that they are ready to face this crazy world.
I'm also trying to support my families' social emotional health by reaching out to see how I can help. I keep track of my communication during remote learning on these FREE EDITABLE HOME SCHOOL COMMUNICATION FORMS.
Happy and healthy teaching!
In recent years, Social Emotional Learning has moved from the counselor's office to the classroom. And now in light of recent events, COVID-19 has our classrooms in the homes of our students.
Teachers are amazing! They have seamlessly moved from instructing in their classroom to instructing from a computer screen. There are beautiful examples of transforming lives to shape the lives of our future generations all over social media.
Teachers are sharing curriculum to provide some consistent normalcy to student lives. They are opening up their homes and worlds to students from the other side of the screen. And this is all happening while the world, including teachers and students are under a great amount of stressed. We are all working to ensure that are students' learning is not impacted by this.
But just a friendly reminder...
Our curriculum teaches feelings, not just academic skills.
I challenge teachers to not forget to...
...distance teach feelings!
We all need some self care time right now.
So here are some ways to promote Social Emotional Distance Learning:
Happy and Healthy Teaching!
By Miss Rae
Teacher pressure is real. We barely have enough time in the day to teach the academic content, never mind, teach those Social Emotional Learning skills that are students need. So the only way to do it is to integrate our academics to our SEL skills!
And here is one strategy I use to foster collaborative student discussions that support comprehension AND build student relationships through conversation skills.
First, provide students with a text to read independently.
Before reading, ask them to come up with a focus question about the text that will guide their reading.
Have students to use the heading of a text to create a "digging question" (i.e. a why or a how question).
This will help students determine key ideas of a text.
This also improves strategic use of a highlighter.
But the main point is to highlight only answers to the question that the student came up with. This helps to prepare them for discussion times, and it allows it all to be student-driven.
Partner Discussion (2 students) (5 minutes)
With a partner, students should share the questions that they asked prior to reading, the answer to their questions, and discuss and attempt to resolve any confusions about the text.
Group Discussion (4-6 students) (5-10 minutes)
Partner groups should partner up with other partner groups for this step.
In their small groups, each student should share the following: this was my focus question, here is what I found out, and here is what confused me.
Some variations to this can include asking partners to think of one question that they will ask the larger group. After partner discussions, each student can find a passage to read aloud to the larger group, and then, each group member should respond to the selection with why it is important, connections, or with a question.
Have groups share out with the whole class a summary of their discussion OR the teacher can lead a discussion about the text.
Now, here is how you can link SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING to this reading comprehension strategy!
As a class, build a list of discussion norms. By having the students take part in the building of the discussion norms, students are able to take ownership over their daily learning.
Here is an example of a Discussion Norms chart...
After modeling and practicing a few discussions, students should be ready to reflect on their own participation during discussion.
You can use a reflection page similar to this one...
Students should reflect on the skills that they are strong at during discussion and skills that they need to work on.
Next, they should choose ONE skill to begin to focus on improving during discussion.
You can have students fill out a goal sheet with their discussion goal and they can include some success criteria - how will I know when I meet my goal?
After each discussion group, students can reflect on their progress toward their goals, making adjustments if necessary, or setting new goals after achieving the ones they set.
Discussion activities give students a chance to practice goal setting, failing, adjusting, achieving, and effectively communicating.
By Miss Rae
We all know the importance of teaching Social Emotional skills, right? The research is clear - when schools embed SEL into their daily practices and curriculum with fidelity, there is academic progress, improved school culture, higher graduation rates, and a ton of more positives.
And there are a few small ways we can support Social Emotional Learning in the classroom.
So here are 3 Bite-Sized Social Emotional Learning Lessons!
1. Cooperative Zen Learning
Okay so cooperative learning is an obvious SEL strategy, right? But there's a twist to this one - students have to work together without speaking. Here's how it works:
2. Calming Counting
So how often do you offer counting to ten as a calming strategy and a student tells you it doesn't work? So teach your students a different calming counting strategy.
You can use this calming counting strategy to improve focus.
This strategy helps to bring you back to the present, and not overthink the past of the future (AKA anxiety). Use this strategy prior to a lesson. Teach it when students are regulated so they can independently use it when they are unregulated.
3. Social Emotional Read Alouds
I've said it before and I'll say it again - story is a powerful framework for teaching Social Emotional Learning skills. So it does not matter what you are reading - the tale of Little Red Riding Hood, Sojourner Truth's role in the Underground Railroad, or the work of Albert Einstein - there is always a Social Emotional skill to be taught and learned.
And the easiest way to do that is through questioning and discussion. Ask questions related to Social Emotional skills and use Think-Pair-Share, small group or whole class discussion, and learn away!
Here are some question examples...
Developing and strengthening Social Emotional Learning skills is hard, lifelong work. By embedding these bite-sized SEL lessons, we can begin to build the foundation for our students!
By Miss Rae
Classroom conflicts happen. Right? No matter how hard we work to create a positive classroom community, there are bound to be conflicts. And that's okay. Not everyone is the same which is what makes this world so great. But differences in personality are going to lead to conflict at times - which is also okay - if we know how to handle these conflicts appropriately.
So as teachers we can teach our students that conflict is natural. But there are ways to problem solve productively. And it's okay to not have the same opinion as someone else - or even your best friend.
But trying to teach these skills in the moment is useless. So like most skills we need to give students a chance to practice them in isolation. Specifically when teaching skills that involve executive functioning, students should not be in a heightened state during this isolated practice.
So to teach conflict resolution to students, here's what I do: I ask my students...
WHAT WOULD YOU DO???
So I give students conflict scenarios to solve.
My favorite way to do this is to break students up into small groups. I give each group the same scenario to discuss. I also give them guiding questions for discussion like...
Then, we come back together and debrief as a class. My goal is always to add to a growing list of strategies for how we can solve conflicts.
You can also choose one scenario to discuss as a whole class. Or give small groups different scenarios to discuss and then share out to the whole class.
By practicing conflict resolution, students improve their problem solving skills before the problems arise naturally - because they will :)
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Education is paying more attention to the importance of Social Emotional Learning now. They are finally realizing that these skills matter. The goal of teaching social and emotional skills is to build students' mental health and resilience—so that as they grow, they can adapt and handle what comes at them. SEL targets essential life skills for students, provides a foundation for safe and positive learning, and enhances students' ability to succeed in school, careers, and life.
Here are 10 teaching practices to promote SEL in your classroom:
1. Academic Rigor & High Expectations - Academic rigor promotes engagement while setting achievable but high expectations to establish that their teachers want them to succeed. The focus, there though, is on the teacher’s belief that ALL students can and will succeed to the HIGHEST AND ABOVE of each of their potential!
2. Student Centered Discipline - Teachers can use developmentally appropriate disciplinary strategies to motivate students to want to behave in the classroom. One way to do this is to give students a voice in the classroom through activities such as allowing the students to develop the classroom norms or rules.
3. Prosocial Teacher Language - Teachers can model appropriate communication skills for students! Teacher language can encourage and motivate students.
4. Classroom Discussions - Classroom discussions help develop communication skills and an ability to elaborate on student's own thinking.
5. Self Assessment & Self Reflection - Students can learn to view their work through an assessment lens as well as a reflective lens, allowing them to actively think about their own work and then, think about how to improve upon it. This inevitably leads to goal setting.
6. Promote Responsibility and Choice - By allowing students to have a voice in the classroom, teachers promote responsibility and choice. Explicitly teach students that they have choices, to take responsibility for their choices, and to learn from their choices. Some ways to promote responsibility and choice in the classroom are peer tutoring, cross age buddy reading, etc.
7. Balanced Instruction - Balanced Instruction occurs when there is an appropriate balance between active instruction and direct instruction and between individual and collaborative learning.
8. Cooperative Learning - Cooperative Learning requires students to actively work together around content in a meaningful way. Explicitly teach students the norms for working with a group. Then, give them opportunities to practice, apply, and adjust those skills. The jigsaw activity is one way to include cooperative learning in the classroom.
9. Competence Building - Competence Building is when a teacher develops students' social-emotional competencies systematically through the typical instructional cycle (lesson goals/objectives, introduction to new material/modeling, group and individual practice, and summary/reflection).
10. Offer Support - There are tons of research studies that demonstrate the significant impact teachers have on students. Help students to grow from their learning, both academically and behaviorally. One way to do this is to develop a behavior intervention plan with the student and include opportunities for your support to help the student achieve!
What are some other ways we can teach SEL to our students?
By Miss Rae
All Back To School Behavior Calming Toolbox Sequence Classroom Management Conflict Resolution Coping Skills Coronavirus Flu Fighting Posters COVID-19 & Schools Data Tracking Distance Learning Diversity Dropout Prevention EB/BD EBD Emotional Intelligence Feedback FREEBIES Glitter Jar Goal Setting Learning Disability Mental Health Positive Affirmations Problem Solving Reading School Re-Opening SEL And LD Self Care SEL Game SEL IEP Goals SEL Story Social Emotional Social Emotional Learning